The approach of the Boundless Roots community is an attempt at what’s known as a systemic action inquiry.
As a community we are taking on ‘systemic action inquiries’. An action inquiry is an ongoing process: we reflect on and discuss issues together - then test out ideas, assumptions or new approaches in our work - and then come back together to repeat the cycle, learning more and more as we go.
In order to approach this from different angles, the community split into sub-groups, following threads of inquiry that they perceived to be central to the wider inquiry of sustainable lifestyle change.
If you are interested in this process of work, we are organising a sharing session on April 16th. You can register here.
In 2020, four themes emerged that we will explore together in the next months. These are themes that we felt are key to understanding the challenges we are facing and unlocking more radical change:
Healthy power - How are we moving away from dominance and power over in the work we’re doing? How are we contributing to healthy power, becoming more aware of power so that we can work with it more fluidly? - We have shared some of this inquiry journey here.
Meaningful life - How are we inviting people into an open, evolving conversation about what gives our lives meaning?
Cultural waves - How can we work with the momentum of what’s changing culture now and operationalise that in new ways? How do we frame the new narratives?
Working with contradictions - How do we work skillfully across polarities? Us as practitioners and the communities we serve. How do we create spaces to connect with what people need in the moment with collective exploration of the potential?
During our first inquiry cycle from May 2019 to February 2020, we explored the following questions.
How do we balance the urgency of of getting people to live more sustainably with the need for deep change?
It’s quicker, easier and starts making a difference today getting people to do simple things like recycling. But to transform to a low-carbon world we need much more to change in people’s lives, without forcing change on them. We’re exploring the tensions and looking for new answers. We have shared some of this inquiry journey here.
How do we create the conditions for moments of cultural resonance and visibility?
Change rarely happens in a straight line, there are moments when issues break into the public consciousness and change can accelerate - like we have seen with the recent school strikes for the climate as just one example. How can more of these happen?
How do we build capacity for millions of trusted messengers to accelerate the transformation to sustainable lifestyles?
How can we train and equip people such as teachers, NGOs, social media influencers, to reach wider audiences in a conversation about living sustainably? Information is not enough: how do we provoke curiosity, build engagement and turn that into real action?
How do we work with privilege and colonialism, collective trauma and power?
For each of us in different ways, how we live is rooted in our history and culture, the power we have and the power others have had over us. How can we understand ourselves and each other better, and how does that inform our work? It’s unlikely we’ll make big changes without it. Read more about what has come up from this inquiry stream of conversations here.
The psyche is the framing we bring to the world, how I see myself and the others. This has to do with ways of living. How can we reframe the values and the narratives to make collective psychology evolved?
We need to question the fundamental purpose, assumptions, framing and understanding of our existing systems if we want to work towards system change.
Therefore we need more spaces that can host this type of exploration and the inquiry approach provides one way of doing this.
An inquiry approach involves working with emergence and allows people to push and question the underlying paradigms of our systems. We aim at iterating cycles of exploration and action, turning our learnings into new approaches, practices and relationships that support our ambitions.
During an inquiry cycle, we come together online in carefully crafted sessions and deepen our practices with other activities in between calls.
“What a rare treat to have the time, space and skilled facilitation for conversations at a depth that can actually lead to imaginative thought, new solutions and real collaboration.“ Deborah Benham
We share updates and inquiries, which can be broad discussions or themed around particular issues
We react to current developments, connect with aligned initiatives, hear from unlikely voices to explore connections and learn from different perspectives to inform our inquiries.
..Drop-in community sessions.
We check-in, share our current work, challenges, inspirations and questions.